William R. Vandergrift papers  1855-1857, 1862-1863
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Vandergrift papers contain eight manuscripts related to William R. Vandergrift's building projects around Philadelphia, Pa., 1855-1857, and six Civil War-related items retained by Mr. Vandergrift, 1862-1863.

Two letters, two documents, two construction diagrams, one memorandum, and one financial account reflect William Vandergrift's work on various types of building projects, including the manufacture of custom shelves to the construction of a schoolhouse in Newportville, Pennsylvania. The two construction diagrams, a floorplan and an outdoor elevation, pertain to the Newportville schoolhouse project.

Three Civil War-related items concern Vandergrift's status with his local draft board, including notification of his eligibility for the draft, notification that he had been drafted, and a certificate that he had purchased a substitute.

Soldiers authored three letters in the collection. Two of these letters are from William's brother, Lewis R. Vandergrift, serving in the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry, and provide an ironic (though surely unintended) commentary on the troubles with draft substitutes in the ranks. The other letter, from his cousin Joseph Hill Sharp, a member of Company B, 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry, contains an excellent first-person account of the battle of Fair Oaks and the carnage and pillage that followed.

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